I questioned myself daily. Am I that mom? The mom that cries all the time. The mom that love, love, loves her babies, but at the same time felt like they were a burden. I had changed. Maybe it was because I had triplets. I hear raising one baby is hard, let alone three at once. Maybe it was because I was already an anxious, nervous person. I just snapped.
It was Christmas time. The triplets were almost 10 months old. They were beginning to crawl. They were learning new things every day. They were happy and healthy. And I was sad. I cried. A lot. The previous 7 months had been more than difficult for me. Matt and I were fighting more than ever. I hated that he got to “get away” at work while I stayed home every.single.day. I was jealous. Let’s just say he was less than understanding.
I am a woman who loves routine, but the days just repeated themselves over and over again. It was more than I could handle. Some days I felt like I was slowly dying, being punished for all the wrong I had done in my past. I loathed the thought of changing one more diaper, giving one more bottle, getting puked on again. So I packed up the babies and drove 2 hours home. I needed my family. I needed change.
It felt good. Being away helped clear my mind of all the negativity. I felt like I could breathe again. For the first time in a long time, I felt calm. Going home helped me remember who I was before. And I didn’t want to leave. But, the day came. It was time to go back home. Back to the place resented. Back to the same thing day in and day out. I cried and cried and cried.
“I just spit these disgusting words from my mouth all the while my mind is telling me to shut up you insane woman!”
It just got worse. I couldn’t handle the babies crying. I screamed. I yelled. I just lost it. It was like an out-of-body experience. I could see myself being this awful, crazy, loud, ugly woman to my children, but I couldn’t make it stop. I said things to 11-month-old babies that should never be repeated. I just spit these disgusting words from my mouth all the while my mind is telling me to “shut up you insane woman!” I was mean. And I scared my babies. I saw fear in their eyes. And that broke my heart. I cried, and cried, and cried.
By February I was at my breaking point. I was just so tired. I cannot even begin to explain to you how physically exhausted I was by then. I felt like I could collapse at any minute and never wake up again. I hated myself, my husband, my in-laws, and even my sweet babies. I just wanted to run away. I was done. That was it. Over. I cried, and cried, and cried.
And then it happened. Everything and everyone around me exploded. I was yelled at. I was called crazy. I was told to get it together. I was told that “I was the one that wanted babies” so I needed to suck it up and be their mother. I was being ganged up on and it did not feel good. I hid in my closet. I cried, and cried, and cried.
“I could see so clearly it was like I saw my babies for the first time again.”
Exhaustion, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postpartum depression were my diagnoses. I was put on Prozac. It helped to calm me, but also made me feel confused. I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t clear my head. Then I tried Lexapro. I felt immediate relief. I could breathe. I could see so clearly it was like I saw my babies for the first time again.
I’m not saying that I don’t still lose my shit now and again. I do. Sadie is a serious whiner. Jase likes to pester his sisters until they lose their shit. And Henley is needy. And when all three of these things are happening at the same time I can freak out.
Lexapro is not a cure-all. It helps me to calm myself better and not get so overwhelmed. I know the stigma that comes with taking an anti-depressant. I used to think negatively of them also. Believe me when I say that I didn’t want to be that mom. But, honestly, that is who I have become. It won’t always be this way. For right now though, they have helped me tremendously.
If you’re feeling even remotely what I felt I urge you to talk to your doctor. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be afraid. Get the help you need. Your child(ren) needs you.
This article was originally posted on my previous blog, The Triplet Farm, in 2015
Edited to add: I want to let you know that more than 5 years later I still struggle. There are still days where I see no hope. There are still days where I want to run. Unfortunately, this isn’t a take one pill and your done type of illness. It lingers.
Along with the help of a tiny white pill, though, I make it through to see the sunrise. And with tons of practice, I have taught myself to discard those negative thoughts. Every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows, but at least it’s not thunder and lightning.